Editor's Note

Give a Paradigm Shift

SOME years ago, while working for the Air Force, a cool new word appeared. At least it was new to me. Paradigm. Back in the late 1980s, the Air Force began a paradigm shift to improve the way it conducted business. Instead of settling for average productivity, average business partners and average products, the Air Force would improve the quality of business all around.

The security industry, or at least the technology sector of the industry, has designated a new word to announce what's new and what's happening in the industry -- and it's convergence. Until the middle of August, convergence was the buzzword, but things have changed since then.

The Air Force is in the business of protecting our homeland and securing our freedom. Nonetheless, a paradigm shift was underway to employ a quality product by quality employees.

The security industry, or at least the technology sector of the industry, has designated a new word to announce what's new and what's happening in the industry -- and it's convergence. Until the middle of August, convergence was the buzzword, but things have changed since then.

Convergence is out, and interoperability is in.

That's right ... interoperability is the new paradigm shift.

While attending the 2006 Convergence & Campus Security Forum, sponsored by ADT, I learned plenty about technology and convergence, and if I use the word convergence too many times, feel free to substitute interoperability at will.

While conversing with the media, ADT's vice president of worldwide marketing Jamie Haenggi pointed out there is a two-pronged convergence phenomenon. Within product evolution, physical security devices become IP-enabled and ride on corporate networks, and the connectivity opens up significant new application opportunities, including business operations. She also said the theme of the convergence of physical and logical security blends common solution elements that emerge across physical security and MIS applications.

Within the customer dynamics of IT-enabled physical security, IT becomes an influencer, driver or co-owner. She said traditional security owners must engage with IT, which is often counter cultural. As you can image, there is a bit of tension between IT, physical security and preferred suppliers. The convergence of physical and logical security means the CIO becomes the solution architect, IT integrators' value proposition becomes more compelling, and the potential of a chief security officer owning all of the security now becomes a viable option.

The implications of convergence will require industry standards and regulations to adopt to rapid technology changes, and according to Haenggi, the implications of convergence trends also will redefine the traditional security space.

Because of convergence, or interoperability, there will be new decision makers and a commoditization of products. Security will improve its position in the value chain and will become more defined.

Haenggi said the convergence issue will leverage IT infrastructure for efficiency, mass storage and bandwidth, and it will allow customers to think more globally. Not that the economy isn't a global platform now, but new decision makers and influencers will take security into other areas such as merchandising, business operations and compliance.

See what I mean? We're standing at the security line of scrimmage and an audible is coming. Things are about to change. The changes will happen so quickly it may appear as though they've always been part of the infrastructure.

According to ADT's new COO John Koch, the traditional security market is undergoing significant changes which carry important implications for its North American operations. He said that his clients, the decision makers of their respected corporations, are shifting to CIOs and business leaders. Koch also said the technology evolution means a dual convergence of physical security and IT. This means that security devices are becoming IP-enabled, as well as the integration of physical and logical security.

All this means that technology advancements are creating new business opportunities in the data world and in business analytics. Traditional security products and services are being substituted by new technologies, and several vertical-specific technologies and applications are emerging.

The landscape also is changing in the competitive world of security. IT product companies, such as Cisco Systems, are entering the physical security marketplace. The industry also is watching system integrators move into security such as Accenture, IBM and TechData. There also will be many security product manufacturers making integrated products, such as GE Security, and there will be security players building IT and vertical-specific capabilities such as Red Hawk and Stanley Security. Red Hawk, however, has been acquired, or to be more specific at the time of this writing, is part of an acquisition agreement with United Technologies. This type of strategic acquisition melds electronics solutions such as video surveillance to physical equipment, such as safes, vaults and ATMs. UTC enhances its holdings as a fire safety and security solutions provider as a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the building and aerospace industry.

Koch, who is relatively new at ADT, comes to the multi-billion dollar company from the telephony world, expecting an era of convergence that continues with growth on both the top and bottom line. He said it's not likely that ADT will jump into the manufacturing industry, but I wouldn't bet against it. He does plan to grow the authorized dealer program, and part of his five-year interoperability plan is to seek convergence growth quickly, remain a leading provider of security services and see that the company drives the technology vehicle.

ADT will call an audible, but not one that is unexpected. Global growth, which every company in the world is seeking, is at the center of Koch's plans. He is quick to point out that China is at an epicenter of growth in the monitoring business, though he expects growth in the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

The paradigm shift is pretty clear at ADT. Plans for interoperability call for a continued, but more focused, worldwide development. The company's business model of having call centers that cover for one another, if needed, may be the perfect operating platform in a global marketplace -- I hope the employees in Denver can speak Mandarin.

This article originally appeared in the October 2006 issue of Security Products, pg. 6.


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